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Civic/Social Literacy: Home


The Division of Library Development supports Civic/Social Literacy so that Connecticut citizens will have the knowledge and skills they need to improve their lives, participate and contribute effectively in their communities, and connect with one another through dialogue.

Libaries and Civic Literacy

What is Civic Literacy?

From the Youth Urban Agenda/Civic Literacy Project at Wayne State University: "The knowledge of how to actively participate and initiate change in your community and the greater society. It is the foundation by which a democratic society functions: Citizen Power as a check and as a means to create avenues for peaceful change."

From Concordia University, Nebraska: "While civic responsibility is minimally understood as the act of fulfilling duties such as serving on a jury, paying taxes, and obeying laws, civic literacy can be defined in two parts. First, students must understand the role and operation of local, state and national governments. The second component of civic literacy is active participation in civic processes, including elections."

From the Partnership for 21st Century Learning:

  • Participating effectively in civic life through knowing how to stay informed and understanding governmental processes
  • Exercising the rights and obligations of citizenship at local, state, national and global levels
  • Understanding the local and global implications of civic decisions

GenerationNation says that those literate in civics:

  • Know first-hand how their governments and communities work
  • Understand civic issues and different points of view
  • Can intelligently use news and information
  • Are ready to take an active role in civic problem-solving
  • Build social capital and join a diverse network of young civic leaders


What Does Civic Literacy Encompass?

  • Understanding of democracy, government, 3 branches and their powers, checks and balances
  • Ability to identify one's own elected representatives (local, state, US)
  • Foundational documents – Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, Bill of Rights, additional amendments
  • Voter registration, voter rights, how to vote, informed voting
  • How a bill becomes a law
  • How to run for office or help someone run
  • Role of the Supreme Court
  • Mechanisms and structure of the US legal system
  • Jury duty, the role of the jury in the legal system
  • Role of the press/media
  • Municipal government structures, legislative process at municipal level, role of town committees
  • Communicating with elected officials
  • Consciousness about the issues that are most important to an individual and her/his community
  • Volunteerism/community service
  • Public service – elected or volunteer
  • FOIA, public records, archives
  • Role of the federal government in shaping the economy
  • Citizenship
  • Political vehicles for representing public opinion and effecting political change
  • Engaging in dialogue with those who hold different perspectives
  • Utilizing non-electoral means to voice opinion (protest, petitioning, surveying, letter writing, boycotting, and so on)
  • Organizing and demonstrating

And more!

Civic Literacy Resources Online

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